Understand Metallurgy, Improve Your Forging Skills

Dennis Manning demonstrates benefits of knowing how your stock works

PROTECTION AGAINST WEAR. Dennis Manning demonstrates adding scrap iron to the toe of a shoe during a clinic at Mint Vale Forge in Cambridge, Md.

Dennis Manning of Roosevelt, Utah, has a well-earned reputation as a horseshoer, blacksmith and toolmaker. One of the reasons for that reputation is his understanding of the science behind those crafts, as he demonstrated during a clinic at Dave Ferguson’s Mint Vale Forge in Cambridge, Md., late last year.

Manning, a member of the Inter­national Horseshoeing Hall Of Fame, demonstrated how an understanding of metallurgy can improve your forging and shoeing techniques with a couple of simple demonstrations he performed during the clinic.

First, Manning showed how he uses scrap cast iron to add strength to the toe of a shoe.

“You can add an area of cast iron to the toe of a shoe because the cast iron melts at a lower temperature than a steel horseshoe will,” he explained.

Manning says he’s used scrap iron from old sewer pipes for the purpose, which basically adds a coating of harder iron over the softer steel of the shoe. He says you can accomplish this in four simple steps.

  1. Heat your shoe in the fire and bring it to a yellow heat.
  2. Put the scrap iron on the toe area and keep it there until it melts.
  3. Move the molten iron around on the toe until it’s where you want it. Brush off any excess iron.
  4. Quench the shoe.

Manning says adding cast iron

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Pat tearney

Pat Tearney

Pat Tearney is a long-term newspaper and magazine veteran writer and editor. Before retiring, he served for a number of years on the American Farriers Journal staff and continues to share his writing talents with our readers.

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